Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why Medvedev is not right

Below I have loosely translate several portions from a blog by the big-selling Russian language 'Segodnya's' chief editor, Igor Guzhva.

"Why Medvedev is not right - The President of Russia is helping the national-fascists by his statements.

I am ready to put my name to practically all of the points raised in Medvedev's letter to Yushchenko. But, I am a citizen of the Ukraine - I have the right such to say these things to the President of my country. I have the right to criticize his policy of integration into NATO, since in my opinion, it does not correspond to the national interests of Ukraine. I have the right to criticize the policy of forced Ukrainization. But here Mr. Medvedev, as the President of a foreign state, does not have a right to call Yushchenko to account.

Medvedev's efforts will ensure that all Ukrainians who speak out against NATO or against Ukrainization, will automatically be treated by the authorities as fifth columnists of Russia. They will say: "Look, those bastards are singing to the tune of the Russian aggressor..."

What is worse, Medvedev is pushing many Ukrainians who are wavering into the camp of the nationalists. According to data from opinion polls, 70-75% of the population of Ukraine relate very favourably to Russia, they want them to be friends, to develop links etc. This actually is a pro-Russian majority. But only about 25-30% of Ukrainians should be considered as political Russians, i.e. those, who are in favor of the re-creation a political union with Russia in one form or another.

The remainder, i.e. 40-50% of the pro-Russian majority do not want spoil relations with Russia in any way, they want open boundaries, they are not ready to go in NATO, particularly as the overwhelming majority do not love the Americans, and they do not need any forced Ukrainization. But they have become accustomed to independence. For many of them it has become valuable, and they are fearful of changes that could lead to its possible loss. They are fearful of the reaction of the West and of the threat of isolation of the country.

Many of them, in general, are not against even some form of economic integration with Russia, but do not support major changes whereby Russia would [again] pose as the 'older brother'. When Russia adopts this pose and starts to talk on the lines of what Ukraine should or should not do, or suggesting the country be split...then these 40-45% begin to get agitated and, many of them become the prey of the nationalists who shout about the Russian threat...

There is a greater task - of moulding a new Ukrainian patriotism, based not on hatred for Russia, but on the respect for its sovereignty and uniqueness, and on its protection, including, also, from the West.

But the statement of Medvedev, does it help or hinder the accomplishment of these objectives? Certainly it hinders. It throws into the camp of the enemies of Russia and nationalists the Central Ukrainian ordinary Joe who does not like the Americans for their bombing of Yugoslavia, who supports the Russian team in the European championship, who despises Yushchenko, and curses "Yulka" the fibber [brekhukhu], fears the Banderites, respects Putin and celebrates on May 9th his main commemorative day. But the ordinary Joe does not want for someone from the outside, neither from Russia nor the West, to dictate what is right for Ukraine and what is not.

There are many such Joes, not only in central Ukraine, but also in the southeast, particularly amongst Russian language speakers.

And without such Joes we cannot break the back of nationalism. So it is better for our Russian brothers to remain silent...

Generally, when I speak to different public figures who speak out against NATO, for the Russian language and so forth I always give them one piece of advice. Never rely on Russia, on its forces, on its money and connections. In Moscow, alas, no intelligent policy with respect to the Ukraine has appeared. Any that exists is deeply intertwined with corrupt connections (a typical example is Rosukrenergo, or an older example isYeESU - essentially, the joint business of Tymoshenko, Lazarenko and corrupt officials in Gazprom, the Russian Ministry of Defense and other departments...

The question of entry into NATO and curtailment of forced Ukrainization must be transferred away from the plane of Russian-Ukrainian intergovermental relations (which Yushchenko wants, with the aid of Dmitriy Medvedev) into the plane of purely intra-Ukrainian policy..."

p.s. Igor Guzhva's views do not necessarily coincide with LEvko's, particularly on the language issue, but his blog gives an insight into the mindset of many Ukrainians.

No comments: